Sunday, October 30, 2011

Applique ... ho, hum

Well, my goal for today was to finish the applique and finish figuring the measurements for the Christmas pattern.  I didn't get either done.  I got halfway done on the applique, and didn't get the measurements done at all.  Sometimes it doesn't matter how much I do, it seems like I am just treading water.  Do you ever feel like that?  It's that old saying ... the faster I go, the faster behind I am!  I don't get it ... so it's late Sunday night and I am feeling disappointed that I didn't get done what I wanted to, and I feel like I'm just falling farther and farther behind.  It's probably because I'm tired and I need to go to bed!  Happy Halloween tomorrow ... my friends and I are going to be nurses (a dorky costume my friend bought from JoAnn's ... a nurse hat and a silly apron ... what nurse wears an apron?), and our friend, Bill that we have coffee with, he's going to be a doctor.  It should be fun ... we just dress up and go to Starbuck's in the a.m.  Last year all us girls were Bill ... we fooled him and said we were going to be angels and he was supposed to be the devil.  He showed up with a pitchfork and devil ears, and we all had faces that were his picture -- it was funny because he was looking for us and all he could see were pictures of himself!  He didn't get it at first, but then it clicked.  The year before that we were "bunnies" and he was Hugh Hefner ... he had a pipe and a smoking jacket.  We just like to have fun with him ... he's such a nice guy and we've been having coffee with him for many years now!  Are you dressing up????  Have a spooky, fun day, whatever you do!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A perfect match

My goal for today was to quilt a Christmas quilt for the store, and to figure out the fabric requirements for the Christmas quilt I am making ... different than the quilt I was quilting today.  I got both done, with just enough time to run them over to the store by 5!  I had intended to quilt the quilt yesterday, but it never got done.  Isn't this quilt cute?
It's a simple chinese coin quilt ... it's a design by Renee Plains out of her latest book.  We have a couple different Christmas lines at the store, and we are going to kit them for this quilt.  I had bought some YLI quilting thread a couple of weeks ago ... I was ordering out of a book, and picked a color that looked like dark brown.  Well it turned out to be a wine color.  It was perfect for this quilt ... matched great!  It's funny how things work out ... when the thread came in I thought "oh great, that's not brown, and I will probably not have a lot of use for this color."  It worked out very well.  The only problem with this thread, and I noticed it when I quilted with a different color on an earlier quilt, it leaves a lot of lint.  Look at the floor in my sewing room from blowing the bobbin out ....

I had to keep blowing the lint off the machine as I was sewing because it produces so much that it would work its way down and fall into the path of the quilting.  I think that's why this thread is a little cheaper than the Superior thread.  It's a really nice thread though, and I like the way it sews.  I have no problems with breaking, just lint build up.  That's okay ... for the price, I can deal with it.  Still preferring the Glide over everything else.

My goal for tomorrow is to finish the applique on my Christmas quilt ... wouldn't it be great if I could get the borders on too?  That might be wishing for too much though!  Happy Sunday to you! =:)

Time planning

Hmm ... I debated about whether to even write today, Friday.  Well, technically it's Saturday, but I've just written some cutting instructions to a group of people I am teaching next Friday night and I realized it is well past Friday!  I got nothing done today as far as sewing goes; I took my mom shopping, then came home and put groceries away, did some paperwork, ate lunch, and then fell asleep for a little bit.  I went to bed about 1 last night because I sat on the computer and did some work after book group last night.  I just can't do that and then expect to function the next day!

The next couple of weeks are going to be really busy for me.  I'm teaching 3 classes in 3 weeks (that's a lot for me!), and then I have to work in addition to my regular Thursdays, on November 12 for our big Christmas open house.  I also have quite a load of quilts to quilt, so I need to sit down and write myself a plan for the next couple weeks to I sketch out exactly what I'm doing and what the timeline is.  I was talking to a friend yesterday, and I said that because my quilting business is starting to really pick up, I'm going to have to get more organized because if I don't, it's just going to drive me crazy.  When I have something to do I have to get it done, right away.  If I don't get it done, then it will weigh on my mind.  I learned this about myself years ago when I worked as a legal secretary.  I would have so much work to do every day and it would just pile up.  We developed a system where we assigned each project a number ... 1's had to be worked on first, then 2's, and then 3's.  I just had to come in every day and realize that I was not going to get everything done.  I just focused on doing the 1's first, and then so on.  How do you handle it when you have a lot of work to do?  Do you have a plan, or do you just kind of wing it?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Traveling Thursdays

This Thursday is a little different ... today we're traveling to my house!  I think I mentioned yesterday that I was having book group at my house tonight.  Every month we have different books, and rotate houses as well.  We have a pretty large group ... there's usually about 10 -12 ladies.  I usually host once a year.  Last year I hosted October, and since halloween is my favorite holiday and I have more fall quilts than any other season, I signed up to host October this year too.  Well I don't know where the month has gone ... here it is October 27, and I have one halloween decoration up.  So I did some cleaning this a.m. before I left for work, asked Kathy, the manager, if I could leave an hour early (Mindy and I are both working on Thursdays now, so that would still leave two people without me), came home and finished my surface cleaning.  Then my daughter came home and I asked her if she would please go get the halloween box and put a few things up.  That sweet girl decorated my house, decorated the outside, put up some purple and orange lights that I bought a few weeks ago ... I hung my halloween quilts, and the house looks so darn cute!  I hate that it is only a few days until halloween ... who cares, right?  It will stay up after hallloween because I love it!

So you get to travel to my house today and see my quilts ... here is one of my favorites.  A class that was taught by my first teacher, the one I learned everything from, Donna Yackey ... the quilt is called oh shoot, I can't remember ... this one hangs in my living room, over my piano.
I have a long hallway that our front door opens into, and this is the perfect place for a quilt display.  That's where this next quilt hangs ... it is my first block of the month that I ever did, and I'm embarrassed to say, the only one that I ever finished, also a Donna Yackey quilt!
This quilt is also hanging in the hallway, and it is also a Donna Yackey quilt ...
This is ... you guessed it, another Donna Yackey quilt.  She had done the quilt as a Christmas quilt with beautiful Christmas fabric, but I decided to turn mine into a halloween quilt because we had just gotten in this really cute line of fabric.  I don't remember the name of this one either, but it sits on the bench in my hallway.  A perfect spot to display quilts!
Now this quilt I did not make myself, but my friend, Donna Yackey, knows how much I love halloween and I had admired this quilt in her house, so she made me one for my birthday a couple of years ago.  It hangs in my dining room ... isn't she cute??!!
And finally, my dining room table loaded with a few goodies for my book group ... and on the table is a cute table runner that Donna Yackey made for me for my birthday. 

Here's a funny story ... at the store we draw names every year for Christmas.  There are currently 10 of us at the store.  Our Christmas parties are awesome, and the gift giving is like nothing I have ever seen ... the first year I drew Donna Yackey's name, then a couple years went by, and last year I drew her name again, and guess what, she had my name!!  It is really funny ... I think we have a connection, don't you?  I guess this post maybe should have been, my lovely quilt teacher, Donna Yackey and all the beautiful quilts she has made me and I have made from her lovely patterns!  Do you have a favorite designer?

P.S.  Book group was great and I would highly recommend the book we read "Half Broke Horses" by Jeannette Wall.  It is a book about her grandmother's life and is such a testament to hard working women and what women go through to keep the family together.  It's a novel, but a true life/history novel.  A great read!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ugh ... applique!

It's 11:00 p.m., and I am so done with this project I just want to scream!!!  Ahhhh!!!!!  Okay, I feel better now.  I ran some errands today and had a doctor's appointment that took about 2 hours, but besides that, I've been doing applique.  Here's what I have so far ...
See all those little windowpanes?  The pattern called for reverse applique, but that seemed like more work, so I just did my regular spray starch method.  Everything is turned and ready to be sewn down except for the roof of the house.  That piece just has to be starched.  I am so ready to be done with this!

Here's the rest of the applique pieces ready to be glued down.  This is why we don't sell our quilts.  By the time I'm done with this one, my time is going to be worth about $500.00!!  I have to work tomorrow and then I have book group tomorrow night at my house.  I need to do a little straightening and surface cleaning before everyone gets here tomorrow.  Plus, I have almost no halloween decorations up and I wanted to get some hung, especially my halloween quilts.  I'm going to do some housework tomorrow a.m. before I leave for work.  I'll just do what I can.  If the quilts don't get hung and the decorating doesn't get done, it just won't.  Where did this month go?  I feel so behind.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Making some progress ... where did the day go?

Finally got two quilts trimmed today and finished Jayne's quilt.  I forgot to mention last Friday that I did go to the gym that day ... always proud to tell you I did that!  It is amazing how great I feel when I go ... how can my body feel so jiggily and then I go to the gym for three days, and I feel like things are tightening up!

Here is Judy's quilt after being trimmed
Judy is a beginning quilter.  Isn't that amazing?  I think this is only the second or third quilt she's done.  When I dropped it off for her today, she had another one waiting to be quilted ... wow.  You go Judy!

Here is Karen's quilt all trimmed ... remember this is a wholecloth quilt that is a baby quilt
It's impossible to see the pantograph on the front side, so here's the back
I think this quilt will be really cute when it's bound and washed, giving it a really puckered look!

Now, Jayne's quilt ... on the frame
I love looking at the quilts when they're on the frame.  I never get tired of seeing how beautiful the quilts look all laid out.  Look how awesome the quilt turned out ...
The quilting just really made this quilt pop.  It was a beautiful quilt before it was quilted, but I think Jayne is going to really love it now.  She is an awesome quilter, and I love doing her quilts.  They are always well pieced, and a joy to quilt!  This was a class taught at the store by Kathy Cardiff.  Isn't it a great quilt?  I'm pretty sure that Jayne pieced this using all scraps except for the borders and the background of the nine patches..

Tomorrow it's back to that blasted Christmas quilt.  Keep your fingers crossed ... I'm hoping to get the center applique done tomorrow!  Oh by the way, I WENT TO THE GYM TODAY!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quilting and craziness

Happy Monday!  I had a great day ... it didn't start out that way ... well, it just started out a little too early.  I went to bed at 12:30 a.m. and woke up at 4:30 a.m. ... I couldn't sleep.  If I was motivated like my friend Jayne, I would have worked out (she gets up really early every a.m. and does her workout to get it out of the way) ... but I sat on the couch and read instead.  So early afternoon I was pretty wiped out.  I didn't get a lot of quilting done, but I did get Jayne's quilt started.  I'll finish it up tomorrow.  The three quilts I quilted this weekend still need to be trimmed ...
I just love seeing quilts all folded up and stacked together ... what a lovely display!

Late Saturday night I got on the blogs and got a rundown of what was on sale this week at the drugstores.  I made my lists and gathered my coupons.  Then I didn't have to spend much time yesterday doublechecking to see if I missed anything, and cutting out a few coupons.  I was armed with my lists and coupons today ... this is what I do:  For each stop I make, I write a list of what I'm buying, how much it costs, how much $$ in coupons I have or rewards from the stores, and then what my final price should be.  I put all the coupons in an envelope marked with the store name on the front of the envelope and then the financial notations made on the outside.  That way I can doublecheck everything when it's being rung up.  Today I shopped at CVS (two separate orders in order to use reward dollars I got on the first order), Walgreen's and Rite Aid.  It only took a little over an hour and here's what I got

Starburst candies (4)
Finish 20 pk dishwasher det
Softsoap (2)
Covergirl eyeshadows (2)
I Tunes gift cards $25 (2)
3 halloween cards
1/2 gallon milk
Hot Tamales 6 oz.
Sour Patch Kids 3.5 oz.
Dots 7.5 oz.
M&M's big bag
Reese's peanut butter cup bag of candy
Sunsweet prunes
Werther's hard candies (4)
Scott mega roll paper towels 8 pk (2)
Scott bath tissue 12 pk (2)
Gold Medal flour 5 lb. bag (3)
Kleenex facial tissue (6 boxes)
Sobe vitamin water drinks (10)

For all this I paid $77.66 ... when you take off the two I Tunes gift cards that totalled $50.00, I got everything for $27.66 ... that's a 71% savings!  Plus, I got back $14.00 in rewards to be used on my next trips.  I am so stoked ... what a rush it was.  I told my daughter, who is horrified at the thought that her mother is a crazy coupon lady, that I cannot buy any more toilet paper unless it's free!!!  I am well stocked on that, kleenex and paper towels.  Now I'm sure some of you are wondering if I really will use all that I have bought.  I can tell you that I will use it all.  I don't usually buy candy, but I'm sending a halloween box to my son in school in Hawaii.  When I was making my lists on Saturday night, I first wrote down everything that was a great deal.  Then when I started paring the lists down a little, I really asked myself "is this something I need or will use?"  Several things did not fit in that category, so I took them off my lists.  That is the trick to making this work ... there are always great deals to be found, but if you're buying stuff you normally wouldn't buy, unless you're getting it for free, it's not a good deal.  I've only been doing this for about a month now, and I have a box put together for the food bank.  I'm so happy to be able to do that.  Even my husband is impressed; we went to Target Friday night and he watched while I used $13 worth of coupons, and then got a gift card back for $5.  That's something if I can impress him!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Staying on track and the World Series

Wow, what a Sunday.  I am happy to say that I stayed on track this weekend ... good for me ... and wahoo!  Yesterday I told you that I was going to quilt two quilts today, and I did.  I'm so proud of myself!  I started the day off by reading the paper and then watching the Charger game.  Oh, that game was pretty awful ... I should have just watched the first half!  Then I ran upstairs to my sewing room and sewed two backs together to go on the longarm machine.

I read on a yahoo group that I belong to that if you have a couple of small quilts, you can sew the backs together, and then when you load them, you only have to load them one time.  It is genius!  The pink quilt is a baby quilt and it was about 44 x 44.  The other quilt was about 54 x 64.  I just made sure both of the backs were square, and then sewed the short side together.  I loaded them so the pink quilt came up first.  It was so darn easy and it worked great.

The first quilt up was the pink baby quilt and my friend Karen wanted an all over pattern that was pretty largely spaced. 

I knew the panto that I used yesterday would work great.  She also wanted a bright pink thread.  Luckily when I was doing my longarm training in Utah, I bought several "out of my box" colors of Glide thread, and one of them is a really pretty, bright pink ... perfect!  The first thing I had to do was figure out the spacing on the pantograph.  You don't want to start with a row all pretty and perfect, and then end in the middle of a row.  I haven't done this before, but I mathematically figured out how wide each row was, then figured out the space I had in the quilt to work with, did a little bit of multiplication and subtraction, and it came out quite well.  I haven't had a chance to trim the quilt up, so I'll show you a picture of it tomorrow.  Next up was Judy's quilt ... she wanted the same design I did on her last quilt, an all over cabbage flower.  I decided to use some of my new Glide thread ... you remember?  One of my 6 new natural/brown colors!!  LOL!!!  I used a color called light tan ... it worked great on her quilt. 

The only problem was about 1/3 of the way through, I decided the tension on the back of the quilt was looking a little tight.  I decided to loosen it and then I created a problem.  I hate when this happens ... you do one little thing, and then you create problems.  Then the tension looked bad, no matter what I did.  So I decided to change the needle ... well then it sounded like it was clunking when it was sewing.  I got my flashlight and crawled underneath the machine and checked the back ... the tension looked okay. So I kept on going.  Eventually that clunking went away.  I have no idea what it was.  The quilt looks good, and I'm glad I got it done.  Tomorrow I'll do another quilt!  My stack is starting to go down ... yay!  I didn't get a chance to trim this quilt either, so tomorrow when I do that, I'll post a better picture.

How was your Sunday?  I finished my evening by watching the World Series.  I'm rooting for St. Louis, well it was just not their day today.  That's okay because everyone wants to see a good series, right?  I sure hate it when it's a blowout and you've waited and gotten all excited about it, and then one team totally outpowers the other.  Today the score was Texas 4, St. Louis 0.  The series is tied 2-2.  Looking forward to a good game tomorrow and a St. Louis win!

The Traveling Stash Giveaway

Hi ... before my post for today, here's a link to a really fun idea.  The Traveling Stash Giveaway is a suitcase full of goodies that makes the blogger rounds.  Apparently when you receive the suitcase full of goodies, you take a few things out, and replace them with some wonderful things of your own, equal to what you have taken out.  Good quilt fabric only ... doesn't this sounds like fun?  I swear there are some really creative people out there!  For more information, check out Sarah's blog post at ... hope one of you wins!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sewing Saturday

Well hello again!  So what I didn't sew on yesterday, I made up for today!  It has been almost 3 weeks since I've been at my longarm.  I always feel a little rusty when that much time has gone by between quilting sessions.  I have a mystery quilt that I am teaching the beginning of November, and it's been done for a while but needed to be quilted.  I've known I wanted to do a particular pantograph on it, and I also want to use the same panto for a baby quilt that I have to do for my friend's quilt.  I decided to do my quilt first to get more practice.  I've only done a couple of pantographs, and I still have a little trouble now and then following the lines.  Well this was a twin size quilt and it took me about 3 1/2 hours to quilt it (with a little ripping out in there!), and now I feel really proficient on the pantos.  I figured out how to do it and not be so wobbly, and I can really see how much nicer the design is.  I can't show you the quilt yet because it's a mystery quilt and no one knows what it looks like.  I know at least one person that reads this blog that doesn't need to see the quilt!

There's one block ... it's hard to see the quilting, but it's this pattern

 It came out really great and I am very happy with it.  Now tomorrow I hope to get two more quilts done in my stack of quilts that need to be quilted.

Now because I didn't get to show you that much of the quilting, I have a couple more pictures to share  My girlfriend, Kassie, gave me these cute spools for my birthday ...
I was so surprised.  She knows I love old stuff, and sewing, and she went on Craig's List and found all these old spools and she got a good deal.  I just love them.  So I put them on my fireplace mantel and I just love the way they look. 

At work whenever a holiday comes around we usually bring in a little gift to share with everyone we work with; so there are ten of us at work, which means 9 little gifts for halloween.  It is so fun.  Here's what Donna gave us all ...
Isn't he cute?  There were several different kinds, but I picked the owl.  I just can't believe how cute he is, and so I added him to my mantel too.  I need to get the rest of my halloween up ... sheesh, halloween is almost here and I am slacking on the decorating.  It is one of my favorite holidays and I have loads of halloween quilts.  I'll post some pictures later in the week!  Enjoy your weekend ...

Friday's News ...

I don't know what happened to yesterday!  I was in bed really late last night and my last thought was "I forgot to post on my blog!"  There are a couple of things I have to do every night, and for some reason I have had a hard time keeping up with it.  Of course there's the usual mom stuff, but since I started blogging, I usually do it later in the evening.  The other thing I've started doing is calling my mom every night to find out what she's eaten during the day and whether she's taken a walk outside.  My mom is 74, young, but she has been having some problems with seeming listless and almost in a stupor, and I think it's because she wasn't eating properly.  So instead of her taking a cab to the grocery store every week (I have offered to drive her whenever she wants, but she wouldn't call me), I now take her on Friday's usually.  That way I can see what she's buying and remind her of certain things, like the fact that she needs more protein.  While we were at Albertson's grocery store yesterday, my mom turned me onto this drink she found ...
... I usually don't like sweet coffee drinks, but what intrigued me about this one is that it has protein in it!!  The serving size is 8 ounces, and the calories are 180, with 8 grams of protein in a serving.  Well I pour 4 ounces into a glass, add a bunch of ice and then top it off with a little 1% milk.  I figure I probably have about 120 calories and 4 grams of protein and it is really delicious!  I wouldn't want to have it straight because it is really, really sweet.  This would be something great to sip at night when I'm craving something sweet and don't want to eat something unhealthy.

On another note, usually on Friday night we go out to dinner and have chinese food and then come home and watch a movie.  The movie we watched last night was called "Bad Teacher" with Cameron Diaz.  It was not very good.  It bordered on being awful, and was full of a lot of sexual references that just weren't needed.  It was worth the $1 we paid for it, but I would have been really unhappy if I went to the theatre and watched it!  No sewing done today ... between the grocery store and organizing the coupons I've amassed (it was very necessary to do so), the day disappeared.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Traveling Thursday

Happy Thursday!  First, thank you for the comments on the Glide thread yesterday.  I am really anxious to get to my longarm and start my quilting.  I have quite a few quilts, and I really want to start on Jayne's and see how the thread looks on her quilt.  I'll take a picture ... she decided she liked the lighter color.  I think it's going to blend in great with the dark in her quilt.

Okay, here is a blog I just love!  Long before I was a quilter, I was someone that loved to save money.  My mom was always reading Woman's Day to find ways to make things stretch ... here were some of the things she used to do:  Cut the kleenex in half to save going through the box so fast; bought whole milk by the gallon and then mixed it half and half with nonfat dry milk (yuck!); took half of the shampoo out of the bottle and filled it with water to dilute it thereby using less.  Those are just a few things ... my grandmother was a real saver.  She bought everything on sale; even when she stopped driving very much it was a crackup because she always knew how much a gallon of gas cost.  So, it's a generational thing ... I love a bargain!  I pretty much never buy groceries unless something is on sale ... with exception of course, but I am a real bargain hunter.  The more I save at the grocery/drug stores, the more I can spend on fabric!  Yahoo!!!!!  Here is a website that has loads of freebies listed everyday ... it is amazing ... I just love this site:

Now go on over to that website and save some money to spend on quilting!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thread and sewing

I've been waiting for an order of Glide thread for a few days.  One of my friends really liked the look of this thread, so I ordered quite a few colors.  I have a thread card, and I tried to match the colors to the quilt, but I decided to order several different colors assuming one of them would work.  I had to laugh when I opened the box and saw all the colors ....

How many colors in the neutral family can you have??  Ha, ha ...  Anyway, have I told you about this thread before?  I love it.  It's a polyester trilobal something or other ... it has a give to it and it never breaks.  It also lays really nicely on the fabric and makes beautiful stitches.  It does have a little sheen to it, but it looks nice when you quilt with it, not too shiny.  They also have these prewound "magna core" bobbins ... it's a special center in the bobbin that helps prevent backlash and makes the bobbin rotate evenly.  They're a little pricey, but I decided to order a few colors.  This whole order cost $75 ... and you get free shipping with that price.  When you consider how much Superior threads cost and other good quality threads, this is a great deal.  I think the 5,000 spools are $7.50.

So anyway, I looked at a couple of the colors and I think there are two that will work.  I usually lay my thread out on top of the quilt and try to see what color blends the best.  I don't like my quilting to be too in your face, so I like a thread that blends in.
One of them is called cocoa, that's the lighter one, and the darker one is called Brunette.  I was originally thinking a lighter one because I don't like a lot of dark thread on light areas; usually the light thread if I get the right color will blend into the darker areas.  But I'm thinking the darker one would look more striking.  She has a border that is the same color as this floral brown/purple fabric to the right of the darker cone.  I'm going to take it to work with me tomorrow and let Jayne (that's whose quilt this is) pick which one she likes best.

I finally made it to my sewing room and got a lot done on my Christmas Wishes quilt.  All the nine patches are sewn on, as well as the appliqued hearts and stars blocks.  I will say it is such a cute quilt.  The only thing left to do is the applique in the center of the quilt, then a small inner border, and a larger outer border with cornerstones. 

I think two or three more days will take care of it.  I have a lot of longarm quilting to get done too, so I need to eat my Wheaties, take my vitamins and drink my Tang ... remember Tang, the breakfast of the astronauts!  By the way, I went to the gym today and just did cardio.  Boy do I feel so good about getting there.  I also got my hair done and I knew if I didn't go beforehand, I would never get there after.  Having my hair cut and colored is such a treat, and no way am I going to mess it up by sweating!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Birthdays and blessings

The store I work at is full of nine women that are so talented and giving.  We celebrate birthdays twice a year.  The first half of the year birthdays are usually celebrated in March, and the second half of the year birthdays in October.  My birthday is in October, and tonight was our birthday party.  It's a little intimidating I will admit, every time an occasion comes where we celebrate.  When you work with women that are talented and have been doing this a long time, it's hard not to feel inferior.  Let me say that no one has ever made me feel that way, only my own lack of confidence.  It was another stunning evening ... we had a great dinner, and I received so many incredible gifts.  I always come home and lay them all out on the table and admire them.  Some are homemade, and some are bought.  It always astounds me how well my friends that I work with know me.  One of my favorite gifts was a replica of an antique tin that I got from Susan ... it says "Sweet Colleen Tea" on it.  How cool is that??  I told Susan how special it was because when you have a name like Colleen, you grow up and every time you try and find something with your name on it, it doesn't happen very often.  I remember as a kid you know the little trinkets like keychains or pens, never was there a Colleen.  So this was really special!  It's so cute!!!  The really neat thing is that her sister has the antique tin and when she saw the replica in a catalog, she knew she had to get it for me.  Is this not an incredible group of women.  Wow!  I am so blessed to work at a place where I have such good friends.  I must remember that because I often get a little discouraged with working.  It's not as fun as it used to be, and I must remember how lucky I am to have such a great job, with wonderful people and such fun too!  The other amazing thing that happened today was I finally got back to the gym.  I haven't been feeling good the last couple of weeks.  I've had an adjustment on some medication I take, and it's been upsetting my stomach.  I feel so much better after I go to the gym.  I have just been feeling really down on myself for not going.  I feel like I'm really jiggly ... there was a time not too long ago where I had great muscle tone.  I definitely think it's harder the older you get.  But it wouldn't take much for me to get back to that spot I was at.  So please remind me when I decide I want to skip the gym ... remind me about how great I feel when I go!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday sewing

Well I made it to the store today, and luckily had friends to talk to while I finished turning all my stars for applique.  Here's a picture of them ...
Just in case you are wondering, there are 16 blocks.  They are 8 1/2" blocks, so the stars are pretty big.  I am almost done sewing them down.  I have about 2 1/2 left which I'll get done tonight.  I don't know why, but it seems like my sewing went faster today than the last couple of days.  Combined with all the hearts (I don't even remember how many of those there are), that's a lot of applique.  I can see the end of this quilt, and I am so looking forward to having it done!!!

Now along the line of my couponing ... I've been doing it for about 2 weeks now.  I have amassed a small pile of stuff ... gotten great deals on toothpaste (50c a piece), toilet paper and laundry detergent.  I also have a box started for the food bank ...

A couple boxes of Cheerios, 4 boxes of mac and cheese, a couple of boxes of graham crackers, Pert Shampoo, a couple of toothbrushes and a couple of flosses.  I hope to add a lot more to this very shortly.  I figure if I can put a box together once a month, or once every couple months, I will feel great about helping out. 

We've had some drama in our house today, so I'll be happy when this Monday is over.  Looking forward to a sunny Tuesday!

Applique, applique and more applique - Sunday

I tried to post this last night but it wouldn't post.

Guess what I've been doing, yes applique.  I'm starting to feel a little like I'm going nowhere and I have tons to do.  I get this feeling every once in a while ... it's probably because I got next to nothing done last week, so I'm feeling really behind this week.  I have this quilt to finish by the beginning of November.  All of the hearts are appliqued on, and 6 out of 15 stars are done.  I didn't have enough of all the fabrics to finish the stars.  I'm going into the store tomorrow to sew, so I'll get the rest of the fabric then.  I've got 4 quilts to longarm right now, and a 5th one coming my way this week.  I need to get fabric requirements together for a quilt I'm teaching the beginning of November.  I'm a little stressed over my daughter's upcoming college applications too.  This is crazy.  It will all get done, it always does.  I just need to make a list and get a plan together.  This weekend just flew by.  I'm happy to have so much of the applique done for this Christmas quilt.  The piecing part is really easy, and the only thing left besides the rest of the applique are just the borders and cornerstones, so I'm getting so close.  No pictures today ... I forgot to take them when it was daylight, and my camera doesn't do well at night.  I was also going to show you a picture of the wool project I finished, but I can't find it.  Can you spell disorganized?????

Saturday, October 15, 2011


What happened to Friday???  I sewed at the store for a class finishing the wool project I started a couple of weeks ago.  I'll have to remember to take a picture ... very cute, but lots of work.  A wool tote, pin cushion and needle keep.  We needed three classes to get it finished!  Then I came home and FINALLY started sewing on my Christmas quilt that I've been trying to work on.  Truth be told, it is a lot of applique, and I just don't love applique the way I used to.  I like the look, but I much prefer piecing.  So I buckled down and got all the hearts done.  There are hearts and stars ... at least I got the hearts done.  Here they are before sewing them down.
It's a little dark, but you get the idea.  See why it took me so long to do?  The quilt is really cute, and I can't wait to finish it.  The store is having a big Christmas kick off the beginning of November.  We have a kit night where we introduce Christmas to the store, have a couple of demos, and offer a lot of Christmas ideas and kits.  I have to have the quilt done by then because we are going to kit it.

I never got a chance to post this last night because I fell asleep at about 9:00.  I was wiped out, and I fell asleep watching a movie with my hubby.  He hates that, and will tell you that it happens a lot.  He is right ... I do often fall asleep while we watch a movie late at night.  We were watching Zookeeper with Kevin James as the star.  It was rated PG and really funny.  It was a cute movie and one that was appropriate for all ages; a little potty humor, but no bad words, etc.  (I know this only because I watched it this a.m. with my daughter; I didn't catch much of it last night.)  The animal's voices ranged from Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Adam Sandler to name a few.  Check it out.  Okay, off to sew some more.  Have I told you all how happy I am to have you here reading my blog?  It gives me someone to report to, to be held accountable.  It's also nice to know that I have friends in cyberspace that care about what I'm up to and to keep me company day to day!  Thank you!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Traveling Thursday

Another record breaking heat day today ... well maybe not record breaking, but I think it is about 97 in La Mesa today.  Ugh ... not much of anything getting done around here except for running errands.  I do get to go watch my daughter play today in a tennis match that starts at 4.  Those girls should be really warm on the tennis courts.  I didn't work today since I worked on Monday, but I'll continue my traveling Thursday post.  Here is a link to a blog called "A Few Scraps."  I've only been reading this blog for a short time, but I like her posts.  She usually has tutorials and a section on free motion quilting.  I always love to see what people are doing with their quilting.  Any tips I can get on free motion quilting, I always appreciate.  Do you have any blogs that you love to read and would like to share?  Just let me know.  Happy Thursday everyone!  Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler, thank goodness.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heat and Organization

Today in San Diego we had record breaking heat.  They were calling for 97 in east county where I live.  When I was in my car at about 4:00 today, it registered 100!  There is nothing like that kind of heat to just zap your energy and any plans you have for accomplishing anything.  I went grocery shopping today and made my rounds of all the drugstores, using my coupons and only buying what I could get a good deal on.  CVS was so nice about coupons and things that I needed a raincheck for.  On the other hand, Rite Aid treated me like a criminal.  Last week if you spent $30 on certain products, you were supposed to get one of their "Up" certificates for $10.  Well I went in twice and spent well over $30, and it didn't print out.  I talked to a gal in there last week and she said to come back this week with both of my receipts, and the manager could take care of it for me.  So I went in today and talked to the manager; that manager had to call over another manager.  The second manager told me the spot on the receipt where it listed the total of my special items had been cut off.  I told her that you didn't need that spot because all you had to do was total the items on the receipt.  She told me that wasn't the point, the receipt had been cut.  I said why would I cut the receipt off when I was trying to get the $10 back?  Then they went into the back and looked the total amount up on the journal.  Then the first manager came back and without any kind of an apology, issued me a $10 card to use on my next transaction.  I hate being treated like a criminal.  I'm not trying to cheat; I'm only taking advantage of the offers the company advertised.

I came home and unpacked and then did some paperwork.  Quite a few years ago I read a book about home organization.  The authors recommended breaking your week up and doing the same chores on the same days every week.  Monday is my shopping day, Tuesday is my appointment day, Wednesday is my paperwork day, Thursday since I work I usually don't expect much.  Friday is my play day, Saturday and Sunday are laundry days.  I throw in a little housecleaning every day.  I try to stick to this schedule.  I must admit I haven't been good about my appointment day.  It worked really well when I did though because I never had to worry about what day an appt. was.  It was narrowed down to at least Tuesdays.  I like having Monday to shop.  It starts my week out being stocked up.  I worked this Monday, so I didn't get to run my errands until today.  So needless to say I didn't get any sewing done today.  It was just too hot.  I'm hoping for tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In Memory Of

Today was a hard, draining day.  One of my sweet friends, who also happens to be my first quilt teacher, lost her husband on October 1 (my birthday).  He was 73 and had a 6 week battle with brain cancer.  He was a wonderful man.  He was the kind of man you wished was your father, you wished all young men would grow up to be like.  He was warm, friendly, personable, polite, gentle and believed in giving of himself to whatever he could.  He felt that he was so blessed in life that he wanted to give whatever he could.  He was a master gardener and an accomplished chef.  The small church was full to bursting with people that came to remember him.  It was the nicest memorial service I have ever been to.  The pastor encouraged us to laugh and cry, that we were there to celebrate his life, and that both tears and laughter were part of that celebration.  It is amazing how many people's lives he touched.  I am so honored and grateful that I got to know him as I did.  I am saddened by his passing at such a young age, but I'm honoring his memory by trying to share my gifts with others like he did.  The pastor said that we should leave today and bake something and share it with others, or garden and spread that in memory of him.  So today I planted some flowers in memory of him.  Tomorrow I will bake some cookies and share them with our wonderful neighbors.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives, that we forget how much giving to others fulfills us.  We'll miss you.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Funny day

I worked today ... switched with one of my friends because she needed the day off.  It was pretty slow, but a couple of friends came to sew today.  Then our other friend, Jayne, came in to have lunch with us.  Late in the afternoon a man came into the store.  Now we almost NEVER have men in the store, unless they are there with their wives.  We're a quilt store and most men do not quilt.  He was nice looking, jeans, a dress shirt and a tie.  He walked around for a while and said he didn't know there was a store there.  Then he asked about classes because he said his wife would be interested.  So I told him to also check out back because we had antiques ... I left him alone and when I walked back to the classroom where everyone else was they were convinced the guy was casing the store and was going to rob us.  So I went to check on him and he was just looking at the antiques.  He left shortly after.  My friends were still convinced he was coming back as they are sure that he was not there for the purpose that he stated.  I told them they were paranoid and that I thought he was a nice young  man.  He was cute too!  They told me I was naive .... I am known to my other friends as "June Cleaver."  I guess I am a little naive, and prefer to be slightly polly-anna-ish (is that a word!).  We had a great day in spite of it all.  But I made it home safe, and hopefully the store is still standing.  If not, we have his face on video tape as there is a camera in the store!  I'll let you know if there are any further develpments.  Gotta go and finish visiting with our friends.  We went out for mexican food as they are leaving tomorrow.  It's been such fun to have them ... they are such good friends to my husband.  Night, night

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Simple Sunday

Oh my goodness, I am so wiped out today!  We went out last night with my husband's friends.  In addition to the two that are staying here, we met another family that was in town for a wedding.  All of these guys grew up together in high school and they are hilarious when they all get together! Just like they were still young!!  We met the family at Hennessey's, a pub/restaurant in Pacific Beach.  We had dinner with them and hubby and friends had already been down there drinking; I wasn't interested in that part, so I just met them for dinner and then I was the designated driver.  From there we went back to their hotel in Mission Beach.  We had our darling daughter drive her car too because the family had a 17 year old son that was probably going to be bored with all the drinking, etc., so we figured the two high schoolers could go find something to do.  Well after we got back to their hotel, we went to the bar where they were doing the worst karoke I have ever heard in my life!!!  The kids came with us; the bar was really small, and we sat aside because inside was where all the crazy people that think they can sing were sitting!  Ha, ha ....  Even the kids had a good time ... they were being entertained by all of the guys and the singing, and I think they were happy they had another teen their age there to roll their eyes with!  I have to say we had so much fun, and it was hilarious listening to the singers.  We finally wrapped things up about 1:00!   Hubby drove home with daughter, and I chauffered the two friends home, with a pit stop at Jack in the Box because they were hungry.  Honestly, I have not seen men drink that much since I was in my young 20's ... the funny thing is they were mostly drinking beer, and although they were a little buzzed, nobody was drunk.  The stories they tell from when they were younger, I think they have permanently pickled their bodies and the alcohol can never really penetrate!!!  LOL  Anyway, I went to bed about 3 a.m.!!  I feel like I have a hangover today and I drank nothing but water and diet coke.  I've just been relaxing, planning my shopping lists for the week with coupons, reading the newspaper, and enjoying my new flowers and peaceful patio.  I have had the best time the last two days cooking breakfast for these men and sitting down with them and chatting.  My husband is not a big breakfast person, so I am excited to have someone to be able to cook a nice breakfast for and to drink coffee with!  Hope you enjoy a relaxing Sunday ... I have a feeling I'm not going to get too much sewing done today!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Celebrating and gardening

Wow, somehow yesterday passed, and as I was going to bed at about 11:30 p.m., I had this thought that I had not written on my blog.  I was too pooped to do it.  My husband has his two best friends in town and one of them is staying in the granny flat, and one is staying in our house in my son's bedroom.  Well the granny flat needed a good, thorough cleaning, and also needed to be rearranged and have some things removed.  I really haven't done anything with the bedroom since I moved my Innova into it, and because no one lives in it, it really only gets deep cleaned once every 6 months or so when company comes.  Well, I went to town on it.  I spent about 2 hours just in the bedroom decluttering, rearranging and cleaning the dried paint off of the floor from when I painted right before I got my machine in July.  I love the way it looks now.  My machine has half of the room, and the other half has the queen bed.  Then next to the bed is a small end table, and a table with a small t.v.  Next to that a chair to sit and put your shoes on.  On the wall opposite the bed, there is a built in bookcase; it has my roll of batting on top, and books, but I cleared a couple of the shelves and put some finished quilts on one of the shelves along with my bobbin winder.  Another one of the shelves has some leftover pieces of batting.  Then next to the bookcase is a cabinet that holds an old stereo system.  Between that cabinet and my machine, I put a big easy chair so you can sit there and watch t.v. if you want.  I just love the way it looks now, and it is so clean!  I think I will try and keep that up even if I'm not living in it.  It just feels better.  That machine creates so much lint, and when I clean out the bobbin case, all that lint just falls on the floor.  I think I'm going to try and find a small vacuum to keep there that I can just vacuum out the bobbin and then the floor if needed.  Anyone have any good suggestions?  I'll take pictures next week when the friend is gone.

Then last night a few of my good friends took me out to Outback for my birthday.  It was so much fun.  Yummy, and we were just silly.  Then we went to Starbuck's to visit our young friend that works there.  We are all like mothers to her and she couldn't come to dinner because she was working.
Penny in the back left, Kassie next to her.  Me in the front on the left, and Tracy next to me.  Not a great picture cause it was on her cell phone, but it's cute!

So today I decided I had to get these plants in that I got last week for my birthday.  I am not a gardener.  I usually buy plants, leave them outside to die in their pots before I decide to get them in the ground.  Well I was digging my second hole for a small rose bush and all of a sudden, water starting seeping into the hole.  Drat, I hit an irrigation pipe.  My husband, who is out in the mountains with his two friends, is going to kill me!  So I turn the water off to the house, well that doesn't work because it's the water in the yard, and that is a different cut off valve.  I'm trying to remember where that valve is.  The old one was in the driveway in front of the granny flat, but it used to collect water from the neighbor's run off and the lever rusted and fell off.  So I have no choice but to call my husband.  He tells me he thinks our friend who fixed our driveway last year moved it.  Well I still couldn't find it; then he told me that he thought it was the big valve by the palm tree.  So I turn it all the way to the right to shut it off and run back and check ... still water is coming!  Ahhh!!!  Just about that time they got home and apparently I just hadn't turned that valve by the palm tree enough, because one of our friends turned it more and shut if off.  Whew!!  Tomorrow, my hubby's friend will help him fix it.  Thank goodness his friend is here, because he's mechanical, and my darling husband is not.

Well I got most of the plants planted; all except for the ones near the hole.  I didn't want to mess with putting any more water there.  It needs to dry out so they can fix it tomorrow.

This is what the patio "garden" looked like "before"
This is what it looks like now!
Tomorrow I hope to get some time to sew.  I really need to get busy on that Christmas quilt!  What did you do today???

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Traveling Thursday

Another traveling Thursday ... where will we go today?  One of the first blogs I ever started reading was Patchwork Times.  One of the things I love about quilters in general is that they are usually quite homey people.  They love to cook, stay home, all the things I always felt like a good mom would do.  Taking care of the homestead.  It sounds kind of old fashioned, but I love being home.  I love my house and it is the one place in the world I can be whatever I want to be, and I feel the most comfortable.  Judy writes a lot every day!  She talks about quilting, and she talks a lot about her family.  She is a real cooker and she cans, bakes, everything.  Her blog is very entertaining ... I hope you enjoy it

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Power quilting

Whew ... my back is killing me because I have been machine quilting all day!  I skipped the gym this a.m. because my stomach was bugging me.  It's a good thing because I didn't stop until 8:00 at night, and I started at 10 this a.m.  I'm still not finished.  I have about 1/2 hour's work left on my last quilt, the flannel one, but I couldn't take it anymore, and I had to stop.  I did Judy's quilt.  I think this is the second or third quilt she has ever made, and she never had one longarmed before so she didn't realize she wasn't supposed to sandwich the quilt.  It was spray basted, but I put it on my frame anyway.  I just pinned it to the take up leader and to the back leader and it was fine.
Isn't it pretty?  I used Glide thread in the top and bottom, and it has become my favorite thread!  It has a little sheen to it and I normally don't love that, but I just love how easy it is to quilt with.  It looks beautiful on the quilt too, it just lays so nicely.  I had absolutely no problems in the bobbin or top ... no breaks, no hiccups.  It is beautiful thread.

Here's a close up of the quilting.  She liked this pattern I had done on a quilt of mine, it's called cabbage flower.  I think it came out really nice.  I'm also working on two quilts for my friend, Mindy.  One of them is a table runner for her aunt.  She made one for herself already, and her aunt loved it and asked her to make one for her.  The other quilt is out of that beautiful line of flannels that I showed you a week or two ago.  She and her friend made it for a young man that was just diagnosed with cancer.  I volunteered to quilt it for her because I believe in giving back.  I'm happy to do it.  When I had my surgery four years ago, one of my mom's friends gave me a prayer quilt.  It was lovely ... it just meant so much to have even a group of strangers praying for me.  Every little prayer helps!

I don't know what it was today but I was just in a zone with the quilting.  I don't know if there is a breaking in period with these machines.  Do they take a while to break in like a good pair of shoes?  This is about quilt 36, 37 and 38.  My tension was great and the machine was just flying and it was smooth and sold.  I dont' know what was going on ... maybe it was just one of those great sewing days!  How was your's???

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

No picture Tuesday

I finally sewed today on the Christmas quilt I am doing.  I intended to take a picture to show my progress, but never got a chance.  It's a 30" x 36" block in the middle surrounded by nine patches.  I got the 6 nine patches put on on each side, and was really about 1 inch off on each side.  I'm not sure why.  When I was walking the dogs tonight, I was doing the math in my head trying to figure out whether the pattern was wrong.  My measurements were what the pattern said they should be.  I can't imagine my piecing was off that much ... that would be a real generous seam on several of those blocks.  I thought I might ignore it, but I'm going to remeasure everything tomorrow, and probably rip them off.  I am running out of time this week.  I have three quilts to be quilted on my Innova and wanted to get this top together at least so I could start working on the applique.  My husband's got his two best friends coming into town on Thursday and I still have to straighten and clean the granny flat.  That leaves tomorrow to do one quilt and clean.  I've got to work on Thursday, and that shoots that whole day.  Hmmm ... well it will all get done, it always does!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Successful day

Well I went on my shopping trip today and had mega success.  Often I've found that when there are great sales on things, and good coupons, everyone has been there before me to reap the rewards!  I found everything I was looking for.  I went to CVS, Target, Rite-Aid, Walgreen's and Von's.  I managed to get $239.44 worth of wonderful things for $109.87 ... that is a 54% savings!  Not free like they show on Extreme Couponing, but awesome, nonetheless.  Everything went smooth as could be ... I spent a couple hours last night writing what I was going to purchase, how much of each, the price before coupons and after, how many $$$ in coupon I had and what I was expecting to pay after coupons.  This helped me stay on track so I knew if things were being rung in correctly.  I had an envelope for each store with my coupons in the envelope.  It only took a minimal amount of time in each store, but the entire trip still took about 2 hours, from start to finish.  I would have done better % wise, but I hit a little snafu in Rite Aid and it didn't ring out as it should have.  There will be another $10 worth of savings there ... I have to go back and have it adjusted.  On top of that, a lot of these items that I bought today will qualify for a rebate that will earn me another $10.

My loot!
My husband came home and said "oh no, it's happening again!"  He is referring to years ago when I went totally crazy couponing.  I assured him I wasn't going to be as bad as before.  Here are a few of my best deals today:  Rite-Aid Scope mouthwash, regular price was $4.00; I got it free with a coupon and their "up bucks."  Also at Rite-Aid Pert shampoo free with coupon and Up bucks; Crest toothpaste $2.59 free with coupon and rebate.  Walgreen's has Cottonelle for $5, with store coupon, manufacturers coupon and their "bucks" program a 12 pk only cost $3.50; Cold Calm tablets were $6.99 with their $7.00 bucks they paid me .01 to buy it!  CVS I spent the most money ... some of my best deals there were Hershey's candy bags were $1.98 on sale and with a coupon and their "bucks" back, they were only 90c a bag.  I stocked up and got 6 making it a cheap halloween!  I also got All laundry detergent after coupons for only $2.99 for 32 oz.  At Target I scored free Cover girl blush totalling $7.48 ... they were free after coupons and they even paid me .52 to buy them; also at Target Milk Bone boxes were $2.41 a piece and I got two for .66 each after coupons; Oil of Olay regenerist wipes normally $5.99 after coupons were only $1.99, and I got two boxes.  At Von's I bought Kraft mac and cheese for only 69 cents a box.  I bought 8.  I love the SoBe zero calorie drinks and they were on sale and with a coupon I bought 10 for .79 each; they usually cost me $1 a piece on sale.  I was so proud of myself and happy.  I can see how you go crazy with this though ... it also does take quite a bit of time. 

So in my charity pile I have two toothbrushes and one bottle of shampoo from today's loot.  Also going to my son (which is really charity too!) who is in school in Hawaii (do you know how expensive it is to shop in Hawaii?) 4 boxes of mac and cheese, one bottle of mouthwash, one electric toothbrush, one box of dental floss, one box of ColdCalm, one small container of dish soap, 6 packages of single load Tide and one pack of gum.  Thank goodness for flat rate shipping!  Even with the $10 the box will cost to mail it's a deal.  Hope I haven't bored you too much with all the details, but you can always not read it, right.  And I'll never know ... ha, ha!  Now the bad thing about this is I got no sewing done yet today!  It's about 5:00 p.m. and I'm going to try and get a little done later, probably after dinner.  Teriyaki chicken on the grill tonight.

Remember I said I was going to fix up my patio and get plants for my birthday present?  Here it is
 The chair covers are new and the rug is new.  Everything else I had.  This weekend when my husband's friends are visiting, I'm going to make them move the hideous treadmill that has been setting in the back of the patio for a couple years.  Maybe my antique table will go back there with what on it,  I don't know.
Here are my cute plants just waiting to be planted ... I can't ask dear hubby to do it because he has been weeding in the yard for forever.  I'll take a picture when I get them all in.  Have a great night!  P.S.  Thanks for the nice birthday wishes!!

My other hobby

Well, years ago I used to coupon shop and rebate.  It was an obsession, kind of like quilting.  I could take a tape of about $80 or so and get it down to $15 or $20.  Sometimes even lower.  Most items like shampoo, toothpaste, floss, deodorant and cereal I got for free.   Those were the days when Vons and Ralph's doubled coupons to $1.00.  They don't do that anymore, so you just have to work a little harder and smarter.  Last week when I was sick, I caught back to back shows on TLC of "Extreme Couponing."  I thought ... wow, I miss that rush!  Now I don't think I need 400 boxes of cat food ... even if I am donating them, but ... I love getting stuff for dirt cheap, or free.  I also thought this would be a great way for me to use my couponing skills and give to charity.  So here I go ... do you know how many coupons are available online?  Amazing ... there are loads of web sites for couponers.  I found a great one ... they give you the sales every week for your local stores, and tell you what coupons you can use from what supplements, total the price for you, and show you the savings.  That is too easy!  Well I've been sitting here for hours tonight organizing everything.  Ready to hit CVS, Target, RiteAid, Walgreen's and Von's tomorrow ... I'll let you know how I do.  This week's coupon load in the newspaper was amazing ... I took a picture but I'm too tired to upload it .... I got a huge stack of coupons!  So let the savings begin ... hey, more money for fabric!  I gotta go to bed!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to me ... yes, today is my birthday!  I wanted to announce it because although I'm 51, I think every year is another year to celebrate!  Bring it on ... about 4 years ago I had this life changing surgery.  They found a tumor in the back of my throat ... had been growing for a long time, just filling the empty space.  I had to have surgery that included cutting my jaw open, and swinging it out so they could get to the tumor and get it out whole.  You can imagine my stitches ... straight through my jaw, down my lip, across the underside of my chin, and staples up the side of my neck.  I had to stay in the hospital for 11 days with 10 days of having a trach tube so I could breathe (I hated that worse than anything).  It took me several days before I could look in the mirror.  I was sure I would see a monster looking back at me.  The surgeon did a great job ...
This was me on last year's birthday.  When you're looking at me straight on, the scar starts in the middle of my lip goes right underneath the lip and down to the right.  I looked so tired last year in this picture ... but it shows my scar well. 

After my surgery I had to have radiation.  If there was one cell left, the tumor could grow back.  After the surgery the doctor (one week post-op), said if the tumor grew back there was no other way to get it but surgery.  They wouldn't want to operate again because the area would be so weakened.  I came out of this with just a scar ... what could have happened was, paralysis of the face if they had to cut through a nerve, and a variety of other more horrible things.  When I went under before the surgery, I was prepared for the worst.  The radiation was pretty much more horrible than the surgery.  It burned my throat and tongue and I couldn't eat very much.  I lost about 20 pounds (that part was okay with me!) ... it hurt so much to eat, but I did because I was in fear of having a feeding tube.

So here's the part where I am happy to celebrate any birthday I have!  The 10 pounds I want to lose to get back into the size 6 pants that I was in after my surgery (well, I'm still in the size 6, but not very comfortably!), the wrinkles I see and muscle loss as I get older.  That workout at the gym just doesn't go as far as it used to, the aches and pains, etc., etc.  All these little things are okay by me (even though I gripe, oh yes I do!) ... it means I am here.  I get to spend all this time with my kids, to see them grow, and it means I get to continue to be a wife to my husband.  I try not to forget where I could be right now ... every year when I go and have my annual MRI, I always freak a litle.  But the last one my surgeon, who is very cautious, said he thinks I'm out of the woods.  If the tumor was going to grow back, it would have come back by now.  One more yearly check in the spring, and then I get to back those down.  So this year I am 51 ... I celebrated by sweeping the back porch that is a mess.  I asked my husband if that could be my present that we fix it up, put some flowers in, buy a rug, change the cushions.  That way I can be outside and enjoy the beautiful view in the backyard and appreciate the wonderful life I have, and the chance that God has given me to live another year.
This is a picture of Sophie today hanging out the car window as we're drivng along ... I think it says it all!!  So thank you for helping me celebrate another year!